back to article BT Tower to open for first time in 29 years

The BT Tower will open to the public next month for the first time in almost thirty years as part of an architecture festival. The West End landmark will be the star of the Open House weekend, when buildings across the capital open their doors to visitors for free. The 19 September open day is billed by BT as "absolutely a …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Enough about the BT Tower...

    ... will the Oxo Tower be taking visitors up it too?

  2. Tigra 07

    Very nice to look at

    It's a fantastic looking building and easily the best thing to look at from the rotunda

  3. NogginTheNog

    use as a location for TV shows such as The Avengers...

    ...not forgetting of the course The Goodies! :-D

    1. John G Imrie

      The Goodies

      Managed to knock it down, far more than the IRA or the Angry Brigade did.

      Viva Tiddles!!

    2. LuMan


      Are you totally CRAZY?!?!? You realise that even the merest mention of 'that' episode will have the whole of London ravaged by a humungous (yet still cute) kitten.

      I, for one, welcome our elephantastic feline overlord....

    3. BorkedAgain

      My thoughts exactly.

      I don't know what this tells you about my internal semantic net, but my mental image of the BT Tower ALWAYS has a giant, white, fluffy kitten clinging to the side of it.

      Goodies... Goody goody yum-yum...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Most iconic use probably

      "Kitten Kong" - was 1972 so long ago now?

      We have just taken on a 6wk old kitten, now where can I download a paper model of the GPO tower?

  4. Patrick 17

    BT Tower email ticket lottery

    A helpful page for those wishing to visit:

    1. Anonymous Coward


      I spend a lot of time on anti-scam sites, telling people, among other things, that there's no such thing as an email address lottery..

      Subject: Your email has won 1,000.000 GBP and a trip up the PO Tower.

      All participants were selected randomly from World Wide Web site through

      computer draws system and extracted from over 10,000,000 companies and personal

      e-mails. So your email is your online automatic ticket that qualified you for

      this draw.

      Blah blah taxes blah blah Western Union blah blah.

  5. Colin Miller
    Black Helicopters

    missing buildings...

    Why remove it from OS maps? If a prominent building is not shown on an OS map, but is clearly there, then it must have some role that is important to the State, so this just grabs attention.

    I remember reading somewhere about a farm that didn't officially exist - one of the barns was a lift to an underground bunker.

    1. David Edwards

      Army Bases

      Army bases are not usually marked on OS maps.

      Its bloody confusing when you are driving and can see a base next to you, but the map shows a big blank space!

      1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Not too good when walking, either...

        Once spent several hours walking past a huge base not marked on our map in Cornwall. It was very secret... when we eventually found the gate, the guards couldn't tell us where we were, either.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Black Helicopters

      Having signed the official secrets act....

      There's a reason why big obvious things are not on maps and inconspicuous things are, people notice things that are out of place.

      One word..... "Misdirection" - there's OS maps and OS maps, these are not all created equally.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        A lot of the countries bunkers are actually built underneath a cute cottage. If you want to see one for real, the old Scottish Office bunker in Fife is open to the public (under the name "Scotland's Secret Bunker"). The funny thing about these is that over time the cottages were surrounded in barbed wire fences, had sangar fortifications built around them. Even the cottages had metal shutters over the windows. Of course the most obvious thing would be the hundreds of cars parked outside, or the buses running in to the sites around shift change time.

        A lot of the sites that aren't marked on OS actually have some buildings marked there, but don't have the whole site. It is not necessarily as obvious as it first seems.

    3. Ian Stephenson
      Black Helicopters

      Why remove it from OS maps?

      It was never there, you were never here, and I am not here telling you this.

      Though the origins of the name ORDNANCE Survey may give it away why these things are not shown.

      RAF Menwith Hill - the huge golfballs for example.

      If it really bothers you do what many walkers have done and annotate your map.

      Ah... here's my lift.... Kzerrrt...

  6. fLaMePrOoF

    You can't register on the site...

    It says details will be made available online of the email address to enter the ballot, however, the details are also in the guid, whick although they are attempting to charge £3.50 to download, is hosted on a public URL here:-

  7. Andy 115

    Strange how...

    ...other countries can put the security in place to enable them to make money from flogging access up tall buildings, yet the British struggle :-(

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Only strange...

      ... until you recall that we're run by a bunch of cretins. The ties may change colour but the twits are always the same.

  8. ShaggyDoggy


    Pity the restaurant won't be functional.

    Guy de Maupassant, when asked why, since he hated the Eiffel Tower, he dined there every day, said that it was the only place in Paris where you can't look out and see the Eiffel tower.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who will be a guide?

    Now that Phorm is running out of steam (and money) this could be a good opportunity for some of the staff facing the disappearance of their company , to make a bob or two.

    Will Kent Ertugrul, or someone from BT, stalk you up the tower, peering over your shoulder to check out what you are looking at, then give you a bunch of carefully selected tourist guides to attractions he sees you looking at?

    Will he then follow you down the tower and around the rest of London, pointing out things to go and places to do?

    If you complain, will he then say he was actually protecting you from muggers, that he doesn't know who you are?

    Would the nice man from BT then try to stop you commenting on the whole episode to your mates in the pub afterwards?

  10. David Edwards

    Site security Status

    Active (Secret)

    Inactive (Secret just in case)

    Old (Nobody cares)

    Historic (Ok, lets have a think about it)

    Most sites go through this for farily obvious reasons. Views/restaurants aside looking at old comms kit is a fairly limited market and takes some thought to make interesting for many, however I have been to the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum and its really really good, wife and kid were not bored as there was a lot to play with.

    There as something on TV about the tower with chris Barrie recently, most of the kit was still in place, quite fascinating looking at all the hardware required to do its job.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      >I have been to the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum and its really really good, wife and kid were not bored<

      Great place to go. However I managed to make the eyes of the staff glaze over by telling them how we maintained the kit when it was in use. heh heh

  11. JaitcH

    Redacted from maps and largely redundant

    Demonstrating just how retarded government security could be, this ugly monster appears as a wide open oblong on a several maps I have of London.

    Like many of it's taller brethren, the BT Tower is not too good for much given that it's archaic microwave dishes and horns have been replaced by fibre-optic cable and satellite links. It's historic building rating about sums up it's utility other than for outside broadcasts, etc.

    Given that it is, technically, a publicly funded building it should be wide open so tourists can use it in a shorter version of the CNN Tower in Toronto, Canada - except it really sways when it gets windy (olace a bottle of drinking water on a flat surface to see how much).

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Public, does not mean all access

      My local Nuclear Power Station is, technically, a publicly funded building, but I dont see EDF Energy opening it up for the great unwashed to have a wander round. I, for one, am frankly in far more awe of Nuclear Fission then a tall building and would rather look round the reactor.

      There are plenty of things around the world that don't appear on maps... like the Nevada Testting Facility at Groom Lake, USA. It clearly exists, but isnt on any maps. Or, the facility at Aldermaston.

      Remember, this was in the day before Street View, when a lot of terrorist planning was done by maps. There is a lot of risk in physically having to go to the place to carry out a "reccy", take photos. Someone might recognise you.

      1. JaitcH

        Want to see a hot reactor? Come on over to Canada.

        Several of our nuclear stations are open to visitors, the operators are proud to show off their prowess.

  12. Graham Dresch

    No problem in Berlin...

    ...visiting the local equivalent, the Fernsehturm.

    Turn up without needing to make an appointment, pay the entry fee, 9.5 euros, submit to a cursory bag search.

    Why can't we do this in the UK ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Why can't we do this in the UK ?

      They want to keep the peasants / children out.

    2. Yossarian

      Maintower as well

      Come down south to Frankfurt and you can stand on the top of the 200m maintower for less than €10 (I really can't remember exactly, but it's well worth it).

      They also have the "festival of the skyscrapers" or something like that every year where you can go up 30 or so large buildings, as far as I remember for free.

      Nice that BT is making the attempt but should do better.

      A much better view though is Emley Moor TV mast in Yorkshire, they must open this to the public.

      The one with the acrophobia tablets in the inside left pocket

  13. BlueGreen

    Never heard of the angry brigade

    link to observer article was well worth the read as an insight into the attitudes of the time, the conformist and scrappy politics, policing as-was, and perhaps above all a good illustration of how not to change the world. Thanks, Chris Williams!

  14. Gaius

    Ballots to that

    What's wrong with first come, first served?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What if

      you live the other end of the country but have wanted to go up the thing all your life, so you come down to the Smoke especially only to be told 'tough shit, sir!' ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Down

        re: what if

        Well, tough shit, sir...

        Someone travelling all the way from the other end of the country only to go up the BT tower? Well, what Mrs Cooper would call "one of God's special little people"

      2. Gaius

        The tickets

        should be first come, first served.

        Thus rewarding people who have their act together at the expense of those who don't.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BT Tower?

    What do you mean, "then known as"?

    It is STILL known as *The Post Office Tower* to very many of us

  16. Bah Humbug

    The title is required

    Definitely worth going up if you get a chance - views are great, and for anyone with a technical bias (so everyone on here), there's something oddly cool about the visit.

    BT used to give certificates out to people a few years ago when they visited (found mine a few days ago, had completely forgotten about they gave them out) - wonder if they'll be doing the same with these visits?

  17. Marcus Aurelius

    Why blow out the top?

    It would be much easier to attack it with a giant kitten

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Wanted to invite an old work collegue to dinner there one time.

    Absolutely fearless and used to cycle to work in central London traffic.

    Didn't handle lifts well so it would have been an ultimate challenge for them.

    God I still miss her.

  19. Juan Inamillion
    Thumb Up


    In the late '60's I took a girlfriend up the Post Office Tower (fnarr) for a meal. Can't remember anything about the food but the views were fantastic.

    And it worked... :-)

    I really don't know how I managed to afford it as a teenage lab assistant....

  20. Brian 65

    September 19th

    Isnt that pirate day?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    B*gger the BT Tower...

    I want to go up the Ryugyong Hotel.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That French Geezer

    Wonder whether that French geezer who climbs tall buildings with bare hands has had a go at the POT? Somehow I don't think it's scalable, unless you've got a set of Captain Marvels sucker pads.

    Maybe we could have a competition for a good cause. Sell tickets to the general public to see how far Gordon Brown and Tony Bliar can be thrown from the top. All proceeds to a needy cause.

  23. Cantab
    Thumb Up

    Only in Britain...

    ...could something as bleeding obvious as the BT Tower be an Official Secret. Love it!

  24. Anonymous Coward

    My first visit

    Was as a schoolboy. My late father worked for the GPO in London, and there were several open days for staff and their families before the official opening. I was about 12 yrs old at the time, but still remember it well!

    In addition to the rotating floor there was an (open!) observation gallery and we also got to see behind the scenes in the technical areas - huge 1960's cabinets of kit as per SciFi films!!

    I shall be entering the draw, but don't expect to see as much this time round.

    William (sad face - memories of Dad)

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Why can't we do this in the UK

    BT tower has pretty heavy security and could cope with tourists fine. The real reason that public access isn't there any more is because they make a heck of lot more money hosting private corporate events.

  26. Ku...

    I've already been

    Its well worth a trip up there. I have been a guest of BT Corporate Hospitality and eaten in the restaurant, which was very nice as well. The revolving floor is only disconcerting if you look inwards to the "core" which is not moving. Then you can feel a bit sea sick. Looking outwards is excellent fun. Ihave to add that the revolving mechanism broke down part way through and had to be restarted though...

  27. Richard Sloan
    Big Brother

    The Ear

    IIRC wasn't the GPO tower also "The ear" from V for Vendetta?

  28. Paul Johnston

    Okay obscure but..

    I saw the film "Tallinn in Darkness" on Moviedrome where the mob plan the heist in the restaurant at the top of the radio tower built for the Moscow Olympics in 1980. So when I got the chance to go I went there and had a vodka or two, magic. Not sure it is still open but worth a visit even if you don't get a branding ;-)

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When the bomb went off

    I recall the teleprinters on the floor switched off, one by one, because we lost a lot of circuits. The Tower was a critical link - no separation or even diversity then.

    ex teleprinter mech

  30. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Other notable stompings of London landmarks at least the "Land of Nod" episode of Rufus Hound vehicle HOUNDED, and also of course DOCTOR WHO, a lot. I think "The War Machines" story - ah yes:

    "The TARDIS lands in London, near the Post Office Tower. The Doctor is unsettled by a sensation of a strange energy nearby. Visiting the newly completed Tower, the Doctor and Dodo meet Professor Brett, the creator of WOTAN (Will Operating Thought ANalogue), an advanced problem-solving computer that thinks for itself. In four days' time, on C-Day, WOTAN will be linked to other major computers to take them over, including those of the White House, Cape Kennedy and the Royal Navy." Let's hope that "Compter Day" goes well... "Using its hypnotic control, WOTAN enlists a workforce to construct 12 War Machines around London." Ah.

  31. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    You know it's iconic

    When someone write a novel to launch into space as the first space station with built in artificial gravity.

    Mine would have a copy of "T minus tower" in the side pocket.

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